The police search has ended at the Massapequa Park home of accused Gilgo Beach serial killer Rex Heuermann. The street has reopened, and neighbors say they're hoping their community can try and get back to normal. NewsdayTV's Shari Einhorn reports. Credit: Newsday/Howard Schnapp; Newsday file

This story was reported by John Asbury, Nicole Fuller and Grant Parpan. It was written by Fuller.

Investigators have seized a "massive amount" of potential evidence from suspected Gilgo Beach killer Rex A. Heuermann’s Massapequa Park home, Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney said Tuesday, as the 12-day-long search of the house concluded. 

“We have reached the end to the search of the Gilgo house,” Tierney said. 

Now begins the lengthy process of analyzing the materials for any evidentiary value, said Tierney, who spoke to reporters Tuesday afternoon near the 59-year-old architect turned accused killer's home on First Avenue. While the district attorney declined to describe the items that investigators removed, he said any potential trace evidence that was found, which could include possible blood, DNA and fibers, will be analyzed by scientists in a laboratory. 

“We have obtained a massive amount of material,” Tierney said. “All of this has to be cataloged and analyzed and it’s going to take quite some time. … It’s not like TV. It’s going to be a while for the analysts to do their job. … We won’t know exactly what we have for quite some time, just given the sheer volume of evidence that was taken.”

WHAT TO KNOW

  • Police ended their search of suspected Gilgo Beach killer Rex A. Heuermann’s Massapequa Park home Tuesday.
  • Suffolk District Attorney Ray Tierney said investigators seized a "massive amount" of potential evidence from Heuermann’s house during their 12-day search.
  • Heuermann has pleaded not guilty to a six-count indictment charging him with first and second-degree murder in the killings of three women who worked as sex workers and whose remains were discovered in the Gilgo Beach area in 2010 — Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Lynn Costello.

Heuermann has pleaded not guilty to a six-count indictment charging him with first and second-degree murder in the killings of three women who worked as sex workers and whose remains were discovered in the Gilgo Beach area  in 2010 — Melissa Barthelemy, Megan Waterman and Amber Lynn Costello. Heuermann is also the "prime suspect" in the killing of Maureen Brainard-Barnes, whose body was found in proximity to the other three women, prosecutors have said. 

Tierney said Tuesday that the investigation into Brainard-Barnes' killing is ongoing. 

"The investigation is continuing in regard to Maureen Brainard-Barnes as well as other aspects of the case, and that's being done through the grand jury process," said Tierney, declining to discuss secret grand jury proceedings.

Tierney said authorities have notified the attorney for Heuermann's family that the search was completed, but he did not know if they planned to return to the house.

“There’s no indication that the family had knowledge,” Tierney said, noting Heuermann's now-estranged wife and children were out of state when three of the women went missing.

Tierney said after finishing the search, he had not reached any conclusions about whether any of the victims might have died at Heuermann's residence. 

"I don't believe at this time that we can say one way or another; the evidence does not point in either one way or another," Tierney said, adding: "I think everybody wanted that singular piece of evidence. But we’re going to wait until we see all the evidence. But I don’t think anything jumps out at this juncture.”

Tierney said authorities did not find human remains while digging in the backyard of the home after noticing depressions in the ground.

“There was ground piercing technology used in the backyard,” Tierney said. “There was nothing of note taken from the backyard, as far as remains. There is a whole entire trace analysis that has to go through in the house as far as hair, fibers, DNA, blood, which we’ll just have to await the results on.”

Describing the home as “cluttered,” with a vault that was large enough for people to enter, Tierney said investigators recovered 279 firearms from inside. Tierney said investigators have to inventory all of the firearms, which included rifles. Heuermann only had permits for 92 guns.

Asked whether investigators have spoken to various women who had claimed in media interviews to have had encounters with Heuermann, Tierney said witness statements will be kept confidential, but added: “We’re interviewing a great many people.”

After Tierney announced the conclusion of the search at Heuermann's home, Nassau County Police reopened the street where the suspect lives, which had been closed to vehicle and foot traffic since soon after he was arrested July 13. 

The news media was first permitted to photograph the home — from the curb line — just after 1 p.m.

The home, its red shingles weathered, was guarded by Nassau police officers who stood out front on the sidewalk. Curtains were drawn in the front windows and thin wooden support beams seemingly helped hold up the front porch.

A wooden bench and chopped firewood were visible on Heuermann’s front porch, along with a sunflower painting and outdoor lounge chairs.

Nassau County Police Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun, a police spokesman, said officers will be stationed around the home "for the foreseeable future" in order to prevent a continued stream of curious onlookers and tourists from descending on Heuermann's home and further disrupting neighbors. 

Any vehicle that stops in front of the home will be eligible for a summons and police will be enforcing loitering and jaywalking laws, LeBrun said. “We don’t want to have to go there,” he said.

The village of Massapequa Park is installing no parking, no stopping and no standing signs and ending all media staging areas, where dozens of cameras have been lined up at First and Michigan avenues since Heuermann's arrest. 

Massapequa Park Mayor Daniel Pearl held an informal community meeting with Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder on Monday evening to answer questions and ease the concerns of neighbors.

“They have a lot of concerns in terms of quality of life, their safety and their property,” Pearl said.

Many of those concerns have shifted from the media and out-of-town curiosity seekers gathered outside their homes to what will happen after police are no longer present to protect them.

Pearl said Nassau police have committed to adding patrols in the neighborhood and to have sector cars guard the property. Video surveillance is also expected to be set up at the home to make sure it’s being watched at all times, Pearl said.

“They’re being proactive,” Pearl said of Nassau police.

Pearl said the village is looking into potentially purchasing Heuermann's home. 

“Legally we’re getting everything lined up so the village is prepared to move forward when the time comes,” he said.

Michael J. Brown, the Central Islip-based attorney who represented Heuermann at his arraignment, did not respond to a message seeking comment Tuesday. Brown previously called the case against his client "circumstantial" and stressed that Heuermann had no prior criminal record.

Police and crime scene investigators dig in the backyard at...

Police and crime scene investigators dig in the backyard at the Massapequa Park home of Rex A. Heuermann on Monday. Credit: Peter Frutkoff

Investigators have said they linked Heuermann to the three victims through DNA obtained from pizza crust he allegedly discarded outside his midtown Manhattan office, cellular phone site data and a dark green 2002 Chevrolet Avalanche that he once owned.

The vehicle helped crack the nearly 13-year mystery of who might have dumped the first bodies discovered in thick vegetation in the Gilgo Beach area. A state police investigator, working on a newly assembled "Gilgo Beach Homicide Investigation Task Force" in 2022, produced Heuermann as a possible suspect after searching a law enforcement database for owners of dark-colored Chevrolet Avalanches, prosecutors said. 

Heuermann, who stands at 6-4, also matched the physical description that a witness provided to authorities of a man who visited Costello's home on the day before she was last seen alive.

Authorities in other jurisdictions, including near Atlantic City, South Carolina and Las Vegas, are examining whether Heuermann could be a suspect in any unsolved killings, police have said.

IDA board mandate … Dem primaries start Saturday … FeedMe: Outdoor dining Credit: Newsday

Police: Man shot in Long Beach ... Great Neck synagogue garden ... Westbury public lewdness ... AED devices for youth

IDA board mandate … Dem primaries start Saturday … FeedMe: Outdoor dining Credit: Newsday

Police: Man shot in Long Beach ... Great Neck synagogue garden ... Westbury public lewdness ... AED devices for youth

Latest videos

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME